Maple Leafs start the season on a roll

Chris Steele
Danny Ford, left, rolls a putt on the ninth green; and Zach Henderson hits his tee shot during Geneseo's dual against Rock Island at Sugar Maple Golf Club.

Garret Albers’ goal as coach of the Geneseo boys’ golf team is to help the players manage the game.

A first-year head coach, Albers wants his players to think their way around the course and weigh the best and worst case outcome of each shot.

“Are the plays you’re going for worth it?” Albers said. “In football, there are times you have to throw a Hail Mary, but you don’t throw a Hail Mary every time.

“In golf, there are times you need to throw a Hail Mary, too, but more often than not it’s safer to run the ball. We need to get them to think strategically in that risk-reward mindset.”

Geneseo graduated four of the six varsity golfers who finished runner-up at the Mendota Regional last season.

The Maple Leafs’ Seth Winchell and Danny Ford are the top two returning varsity players.

Winchell shot the low round for the Leafs at the NIB 12 Conference Tournament finishing tied for ninth with an 80, and Ford carded an 87 to tie for 22nd place.

With some talent at the top of the lineup and some exciting newcomers, Geneseo has a lot of potential going into this season.

However, managing expectations on the course can be the most challenging part of the game.

Albers believes a player’s understanding of how to battle through a round when they don’t have their A game is just as important as being a scratch player.

“It’s the same in every sport,” Albers said. “If you are hot, can you keep yourself hot, and when you aren’t, can you manage your mistakes and stay mentally tough? You have to be comfortable in uncomfortable situations.”

This means managing the emotions of the game opposed to letting the emotion take control.

“We have to keep guys from getting too high or too low,” Albers said. “We need to find that steady ground where you can get out on the course and not know if they are two under or five over because they are able to manage their own mental state.”

Albers likes the makeup of the team, and he believes they are already comfortable with each other.

“You can already tell some of those inside jokes from last year are leftover,” Albers said. “They just really get along together well. They are competing against the course and themselves more than any other person.”

Hall Quad

The Maple Leafs opened the season with a strong outing at Spring Creek Golf Course on Aug. 13.

Geneseo earned the team title with a 167 team score holding off runner-up Mercer Country and host Hall 192 with Kewanee finishing fourth (205).

Danny Ford shot a 41 to earn medalist honors capturing the honor with a card back tiebreaker over teammate Zach Henderson 41.

The Maple Leafs’ Seth Winchell carded a 42, and Ty Johnson rounded out the varsity team’s score with a 43.

Derek Johnsen and Colton Garcia each shot a 46.

Geneseo’s JV players strung together solid rounds for a team score of 182.

The Leafs’ Kaden Rink fired a 44 to led the JV team.

Geneseo’s Shane Lievens finished with a 45, and Chase VanKlaveren finished with a 47.

Geneseo’s Ian Phillips and Mason Steinert each carded a 49, and Tim Lehman finished with a 51.

Rock Island at Geneseo

The Maple Leafs hosted their home opener against Rock Island and Ford collected his second medalist honor to start the season.

Ford knocked in a pair of birdies to power his way to an even-par 36 at Sugar Maple Golf Club on Aug. 14.

Geneseo earned the victory over Rock Island 162-184, and the Geneseo JV team held a 191-223 advantage.

The Leafs’ Johnsen fired a 40, and Garcia finished with a 43.

Winchell added a 43, and Johnson finished with a 48.

Rink led the Leafs’ JV team with a 44, and Lievens, Phillips and Lehman each carded a 49.

VanKlaveren added a 53, and Steinert finished with a 63.

The Maple Leafs’ next home match will be against Alleman at Sugar Maple Golf Club on Aug. 22.

Maple Leafs' golf roster

Aug. 13    Hall Quad    Spring Creek Golf Course    4 p.m.

Aug. 14    Rock Island at Geneseo    Sugar Maple Golf Club    3:15 p.m.  

Aug. 20    Princeton Triangular    Chapel Hill Golf Course    4 p.m.

Aug. 22    Alleman at Geneseo    Sugar Maple Golf Club    2:30 p.m.

Aug. 23    Ottawa at Geneseo    Sugar Maple Golf Club    4 p.m.

Aug. 25    Geneseo Invite    Sugar Maple Golf Club    8 a.m.

Aug. 28    Sterling at Geneseo    Sugar Maple Golf Club    4 p.m.

Aug. 30    Moline at Geneseo    Sugar Maple Golf Club    4 p.m.

Sept. 1    Rock Falls Invite    Rock River C.C., Rock Falls    8 a.m.

Sept. 4    Geneseo at Rochelle    Rochelle Country Club    4 p.m.

Sept. 15    Dragon Classic    Lick Creek Golf Course    8:30 a.m.  

Sept. 18    Geneseo at LaSalle-Peru    Oakridge Golf Course, LaSalle    4 p.m.    

Sept. 22    Canton Invitational    Wee Ma Tuk Country Club    8:30 a.m.

Sept. 26    NIB12 Tournament    Oakridge Golf Course, LaSalle    9 a.m.

Sept. 28    Geneseo F/S Invitational    Sugar Maple Golf Club    3 p.m.

Sept. 28    Geneseo at Rock Island    Highland Springs Golf Course    3 p.m.

Maple Leafs' golf roster


Colton Garcia

Ty Johnsen

Shane Lievens

Aaron Matthews

Ian Phillips

Kaden Rink


Dawson Decap

Danny Ford

Tim Lehman

Chase VanKlaveren

Seth  Winchell


Zach Henderson

Derek Johnson

Chase  Stephens

Andrew Thoene

Brayden Williamsen


Clayton Baum

Mason Steinert

Coach: Garret Albers.

Assistant coach: Jon Petrov.